The 10 most annoying video game enemies of all time

If you stop getting angry, you lose twice.

Enemies are made to stand in the way of players, to give a means of pushing through and achieving the ultimate goal of beating the video game. How these enemies must be defeated are as varied as the enemies themselves — jumping on them, cleaving them in two, or a well-placed bullet are all reasonable asks of a player.

There are times, however, when an enemy design seems to miss its mark. When enemies become more of an annoyance than anything else, where their spawns are met with eye-rolls and exasperated sighs, the game stops being fun and starts feeling like a chore. These enemies can be defeated and typically try to enforce specific game mechanics, but that doesn’t remove the exasperation.

Related: The 10 best horror games on PS4 and PS5

Most annoying enemies in video games, ranked

Here is our list of the 10 worst video game enemies of all time.

#10 Poison Moths — Resident Evil: Code Veronica

Image via Nivan Field on YouTube

These moths would poison Claire Redfield, and they consistently respawned. Being poisoned would require using a Blue Herb, which existed in a finite number. If players needed too much backtracking to figure the way forward, the entire game could become unbeatable, requiring a full restart. The Resident Evil franchise is no stranger to hardcore difficulties, but these moths were brutal.

#9 Creeper — Minecraft

Screenshot by Gamepur

The Creeper is a classic Minecraft enemy spawned from Mojang attempting to code a pig. The enemy became immortalized as exploding everything near it with a short fuse, and has the nastiest tendency to blow up that complex Redstone contraption you’ve just finished building. Creepers can be mitigated with ocelots and bows, so their effects don’t need to be felt if players plan ahead — this doesn’t make it any less frustrating, however, when they destroy some hard work.

#8 Sniper Jackals — Halo franchise

Image via EBR on YouTube

Here’s an enemy players won’t despise until the difficulty is jacked up to its zenith with Legendary difficulty, perhaps with a few Halo Skulls for good measure. Legendary Jackals had a habit of one-tapping the Master Chief with little in terms of any recourse. Try all he might to duck and dodge these scrawny aliens; it didn’t matter: that bullet is coming for the Master Chief’s head.

#7 Cactuar — Final Fantasy 6+

Screenshot by Gamepur

How the Cactuar became such an iconic character within the Final Fantasy franchise is confusing for some. First seen in Final Fantasy VI, these enemies have a massive health pool and tend to sprint away as quickly as possible while using their 1,000 Needle attack. If you manage to have a couple of Limit Breaks on hand for their appearance, you can eke out a victory, but the absolute hassle and enemy design has left more than a few players scratching their heads.

#6 Screechers — Raft

Image via Jynn on YouTube

One of the most infuriating enemy designs is when the enemies dish out damage, then dash away to safety, where the player struggles to hit them. The Screechers in Raft do precisely this: they drop rocks that somehow act as explosive bombs, damaging players, then fly away to grab another explosive rock thing. If you’re too close to an island and trying to grab some resources, they will come to harass players until everyone stops what they’re doing and chase this bird all over whichever island.

Such fun.

#5 Cliff Racers — The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

Image via Razorel on YouTube

No list of annoying video game enemies is complete without the callback to these winged demons of Morrowind. In The Elder Scrolls 3, players can miss their blows based on behind-the-scenes stat rolls. Combine this with an agile, airborne enemy that can call their friends to assist, and you have one of the most notorious headaches in video game history.

Even if you managed to nock a bow and fire at this creature, the hitboxes were iffy more often than not. Add onto all of this that Cliff Racers could carry diseases, which would transfer to the player, and their constant screeching and you have a contender for one of the worst enemies ever. This may be why Bethesda has reported no interest in a Morrowind remaster.

#4 Sectoid — XCOM 2

Screenshot by Gamepur

Players will spend hours fine-tuning their soldiers in the XCOM franchise, ensuring they have the best weaponry and abilities to shred the alien invasion while coming home (mostly) intact. Then these enemies are introduced, which can completely remove your control from your soldiers. They might run in terror, they could be stunned in place, or the enemy even gets to take control of that soldier and use them against you.

In the context of the XCOM franchise, it makes sense. But it may be one of the most annoying things to simply have control of a unit wrested from you because you weren’t expecting a Sectoid to be hidden behind that corner. Add on some classic XCOM permadeath, and it nearly demands the ALT+F4 command.

#3 Basilisk — Dark Souls

Imager via BonfireVN on YouTube

The first Dark Souls was when FromSoftware began picking up steam in terms of consumer hype after its success with Demon Souls. It was a brutal affair, slogging through labyrinthian dungeons and corridors. Players drop into the Hidden Depths and then get to meet the Basilisks, which is almost a guaranteed insta-kill on first introduction.

These basilisks expel a cloud of smog AoE that quickly damages a player, but the best part is that, upon resurrection, players are stuck at half-life until they try to use a Purifying Stone. The tight, dark corridors these enemies spawn in can make controllers look surprisingly aerodynamic.

#2 Like Like — The Legend of Zelda

Screenshot by Gamepur

This almost gets a pass for being so early into the burgeoning world of video game design, but the frustrations involved bring it back to relevance. The Like Like slides around the floor in the Snake dungeon of the original Legend of Zelda, and if they grab a player, it will take your Magic Shield, which you’ve likely spent hours grinding up the money.

If the Like Like grabs your shield, you can’t progress until you get a new one. Either get back to farming enemies or restart the game entirely to use the secret shrubs for the rupees. Hopefully, when you get back to this dungeon, it doesn’t happen again.

#1 Ichthyornis — Ark: Survival Evolved

Screenshot by Gamepur

Developers have a thing for making birds annoying, it seems. The Ichthyornis was introduced to Ark: Survival Evolved in 2017 and immediately met with players’ frustrations. These birds fly across coastlines and dive toward players to steal items for the hotbar. Once they’ve selected a player, they will chase that player constantly until it can steal something.

The entirety of this enemy design is a frustrating experience, to the point that entire Ark: Survival Evolved mods have been developed just to remove this dinosaur and its unique actions. It effectively stopped coastline builds for players, made the early game frustrating, and the purpose of this design has been left as a gigantic question mark for the community.